A Shadow in Summer
by Daniel Abraham
336pp (Hardcover)
My Rating: 7/10
Amazon Rating: 4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.77/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.75/5

Daniel Abraham’s debut novel, A Shadow in Summer, is the first book in The Long Price Quartet. The next two books, A Betrayal in Winter and An Autumn War, have been released and the final book The Price of Spring will be out in July 2009. Even though he is a relatively new novelist, Abraham has written a lot of short fiction and been involved in several writing projects, such as the new Wild Cards books (his sections in Inside Straight are the reason I picked up this novel) and Hunter’s Run, co-written with George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

The Khaiem train young men who prove to be powerful yet compassionate to become poets – not those who write verse but those who magically bind an idea in a physical form known as an andat. The city of Saraykeht has an andat that gives it enormous economic advantage. Seedless, also known as Sterile and Removing-The-Part-That-Continues, is primarily used for removing seeds from cotton effortlessly, so they do not have to be combed out manually in a time-consuming process. Since Seedless has been bound to serve against his will, he perceives himself as a slave and schemes to become free of his master, Heshai-kvo.

A Shadow in Summer is a political and character heavy fantasy containing a unique world and magic. There is not focus on sword-fighting, battles and action but more plotting and relationship and character building. Instead of the common medieval European setting, the culture is influenced by Asia with much tea-drinking and formalities. When characters are interacting, they tend to take on poses conveying their emotions and thoughts, such as poses indicating delight, acceptance, or an apology.

My favorite aspect of this novel was the andats, the ideas that poets created and bound into a form. The only andat we are introduced to in this book is Seedless, who is the most fascinating character in the entire story. Seedless is largely amoral and will do almost anything to attain his freedom, yet he seems to truly care about what happens to Heshai-kvo’s student, the well-meaning Maati. His main goal seems to be to make his master miserable, and the two have a turbulent relationship.

With the exception of Seedless, the characters were missing that special something that made me really care. They were well-developed with distinct personalities and goals and I enjoyed reading about them, but I never really felt that they came alive. One of the most interesting character moments to me was in the very beginning in the prologue, but the rest of the book did not live up to that promise. Liat, the shallow young woman who was part of a love triangle with two young men, annoyed me – she didn’t seem particularly bright and the way she treated Itani really made me dislike her. She hated the fact that he was a common laborer and always tried to get him to aspire to more. This was partially because she realized he was very intelligent but it often seemed as though she were looking down on him. Fortunately, the other main female character was much better. Amat, an older woman, was a merchant’s adviser who became caught up in Seedless’s scheme when he recruited her boss. She stumbled upon the plot, tried to destroy it, and eventually lost her place in society, yet managed to make herself a new place and come out stronger for it in the end. Both Itani and Maati were likable in spite of their mutual fascination with Liat.

Even though this is the first book in a series, it is a complete novel with a clear conclusion and no cliffhanger ending.

A Shadow in Summer is a solid debut and I enjoyed it for its uncommon setting and magic. However, it did not engage me enough to make me want to run out and get the sequel, although I will most likely read it at some point.



The Hugo nominations are in! How exciting! The full list of nominees was originally found at AnticipationSF. Some of these are available as free downloads so you may want to head over and check that out.

Special thanks to A Dribble of Ink for the heads up since that’s where I first saw this list.

Best Novel

  • Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury)
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
  • Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
  • Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi (Tor)

Best Novella

  • “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
  • “The Political Prisoner” by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008)
  • “The Tear” by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
  • “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
  • “Truth” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Novelette

  • “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Jan 2008)
  • “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
  • “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008)
  • “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner (Asimov’s Feb 2008) — Read Online
  • “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008) — Read Online

Best Short Story

  • “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Jul 2008)
  • “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick (Baen’s Universe Oct 2008)
  • “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
  • “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
  • “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Feb 2008)

Best Related Book

  • Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press)
  • Spectrum 15: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art by Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)
  • The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold by Lillian Stewart Carl & John Helfers, eds. (Baen)
  • What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid (Beccon Publications)
  • Your Hate Mail Will be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 by John Scalzi (Subterranean Press)

Best Graphic Story

  • The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle Written by Jim Butcher, art by Ardian Syaf (Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Publishing)
  • Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • Fables: War and Pieces Written by Bill Willingham, pencilled by Mark Buckingham, art by Steve Leialoha and Andrew Pepoy, color by Lee Loughridge, letters by Todd Klein (DC/Vertigo Comics)
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic Story and art by Howard Tayler (The Tayler Corporation)
  • Serenity: Better Days Written by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, art by Will Conrad, color by Michelle Madsen, cover by Jo Chen (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Y: The Last Man, Volume 10: Whys and Wherefores Written/created by Brian K. Vaughan, pencilled/created by Pia Guerra, inked by Jose Marzan, Jr. (DC/Vertigo Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer, story; Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, screenplay; based on characters created by Bob Kane; Christopher Nolan, director (Warner Brothers)
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army Guillermo del Toro & Mike Mignola, story; Guillermo del Toro, screenplay; based on the comic by Mike Mignola; Guillermo del Toro, director (Dark Horse, Universal)
  • Iron Man Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, screenplay; based on characters created by Stan Lee & Don Heck & Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby; Jon Favreau, director (Paramount, Marvel Studios)
  • METAtropolis by John Scalzi, ed. Written by: Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder (Audible Inc)
  • WALL-E Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, director (Pixar/Walt Disney)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • “The Constant” (Lost) Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof, writers; Jack Bender, director (Bad Robot, ABC studios)
  • Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon, & Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen , writers; Joss Whedon, director (Mutant Enemy)
  • “Revelations” (Battlestar Galactica) Bradley Thompson & David Weddle, writers; Michael Rymer, director (NBC Universal)
  • “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” (Doctor Who) Steven Moffat, writer; Euros Lyn, director (BBC Wales)
  • “Turn Left” (Doctor Who) Russell T. Davies, writer; Graeme Harper, director (BBC Wales)

Best Editor, Short Form

  • Ellen Datlow
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Gordon Van Gelder
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Lou Anders
  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Best Professional Artist

  • Daniel Dos Santos
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Donato Giancola
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine

  • Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Neil Clarke, Nick Mamatas & Sean Wallace
  • Interzone edited by Andy Cox
  • Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, Kris Dikeman, David G. Hartwell, & Kevin J. Maroney
  • Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal

Best Fanzine

  • Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
  • Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
  • Challenger edited by Guy H. Lillian III
  • The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia
  • Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima
  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer

Best Fan Writer

  • Chris Garcia
  • John Hertz
  • Dave Langford
  • Cheryl Morgan
  • Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist

  • Alan F. Beck
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Sue Mason
  • Taral Wayne
  • Frank Wu

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Aliette de Bodard
  • David Anthony Durham
  • Felix Gilman
  • Tony Pi
  • Gord Sellar

Congratulations to all the nominees! I am especially thrilled to see that one of my favorite books from last year, The Graveyard Book, made the final cut. It’s fantastic to see Elizabeth Bear (twice even!) and Nancy Kress recognized for their great work as well.


This is really just for my own benefit since I want to keep a list of books read in 2009 (I’m obsessive that way). I’ll update this as I read more.

Last updated: May 17

  1. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold (space opera)
  2. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (fantasy)
  3. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (science fiction)
  4. Inside Straight edited by George R. R. Martin (science fiction)
  5. The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro (fantasy)
  6. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (urban fantasy)
  7. Watchmen by Alan Moore (graphic novel – science fiction)
  8. A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham (fantasy)
  9. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy)
  10. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (dystopian science fiction)
  11. Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair* (science fiction romance)
  12. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy)
  13. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy)
  14. The Oracle Lips by Storm Constantine (SF & F short stories)
  15. The Two Georges by Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss (alternative history)
  16. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre* (urban fantasy)
  17. Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman (dark fantasy)
  18. Corambis by Sarah Monette* (dark fantasy)
  19. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (YA, urban fantasy)
  20. The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro (romantic science fiction)
  21. Starfinder by John Marco* (YA fantasy)
  22. Kings and Assassins by Lane Robins* (dark fantasy)
  23. Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict (urban fantasy)
  24. Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor (YA fantasy)
  25. Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey* (urban fantasy)
  26. The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (science fiction)
  27. The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee (science fiction)
  28. Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie (epic fantasy)
  29. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy)
  30. Archangel by Sharon Shinn (fantasy)
  31. The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente (fantasy)
  32. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie* (fantasy)
  33. Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor* (fantasy)
  34. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire* (urban fantasy)
  35. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber*(romantic historical fantasy)

Books by authors I hadn’t read before: 15
* designates 2009 releases

So far, so good. I haven’t read a single book I didn’t enjoy and I can’t say the same for around this time last year.


Well, I was starting to get caught up on reviews… Then I got sick the beginning of last week and haven’t really felt up to concentrating well enough to write a coherent book review (although I got lots of reading done last weekend). So I’m not sure when I’ll get the rest of those reviews written, but I’m hoping I’ll feel up to writing one or two this coming weekend. Sadly, this means I missed the Blogger Book Club last week, but I did read the book beforehand and will write about it sometime after I’m feeling better.

Here are the books that will be reviewed once I’ve recovered:

  • A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (This is the Blogger Book Club book I missed last week.)
  • Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair (I still much preferred the darker Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark but I also enjoyed this one far more than An Accidental Goddess.)
  • Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (Liked this one even better than the first book and absolutely love Mercy as a character. I’m definitely getting the next book soon and maybe some other books by Patricia Briggs. Any suggestions other than this series and the Alpha and Omega one?)

Now I am reading an alternative history mystery, The Two Georges by Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss. I haven’t picked up The Oracle Lips in a while but want to read some more stories from it soon (it’s too dense for me right now – been trying to read light, easy to read books for the time being).

Please. This isn’t even worth mocking.

That is all.

One of my most anticipated new releases of 2009 is the first book in Ann Aguirre’s new Corine Solomon series, Blue Diablo. To celebrate its April 7 release, Ann Aguirre will be doing a virtual blog tour, which I’m very happy to say includes a guest post here on April 2 to give away a copy of the book to one lucky winner.

Also, don’t miss the Blue Diablo Blowout run by the author herself – the grand prize is a $100 Barnes and Noble gift certificate, first runner up gets a $50 Amazon gift card, second runner up gets a $25 Lush gift card, and the third runner up gets a signed copy of Blue Diablo! If you’re talented enough to make a book trailer, you could win a $250 Visa gift card.

Want to know more about this new urban fantasy from the author of Grimspace (review) and Wanderlust (review)? Below is the official blurb, and you can also read an excerpt.

Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic…

There will be several opportunities to win a copy during the blog tour. The schedule is as follows:

Guest blog & ARC giveaway at Novel Thoughts — February 25
Guest blog & ARC giveaway at Romance Bookwyrm
— March 4
Guest blog & ARC giveaway at The Book Smugglers — March 11
Guest blog at Jennifer’s Random Musings — March 25
Guest blog at Magical Musings — March 26
Guest blog at SciFi Chick — March 27
Guest blog at Angieville — March 30
Interview at Lurve a la Mode — March 31
Guest blog at Babbling about Books — April 1
Guest blog at Fantasy Cafe — April 2
Guest blog at Stacy’s Place on Earth — April 3
Interview at Confessions of a Romance Addict — April 6
Guest blog at The Book Smugglers — April 7
Guest blog at Writer Unboxed — April 7
Interview at Cynthia Eden’s blog — April 8
Guest blog at The Thrillionth Page — April 9
Guest blog at Reading Adventures — April 10
Guest blog at Urban Fantasy Land — April 13
Guest blog at The Book Binge — April 14
Guest blog at Ramblings on Romance — April 15
Guest blog at Fantasy Debut — April 16
Guest blog at The Discriminating Fangirl — April 17
Guest blog at Cubie’s Confections — April 20